Julie Ann "Julz" Holder
Home town (in winter): Bellingham, WA, and the Mt Baker parking lot.
Skiing history: I first perfected the ‘power pizza’ as a child of 4 years old, however, growing up in Atlanta, GA, my encounters with snow were increasingly rare and I did not actually learn the art of true ‘french fries’ until my early twenties. My re-introduction to skiing began in 2015 when I got hired as a ski instructor in Big Sky, Montana. My goal was to ski the Big Couloir on Lone Mountain by the end of my first season, and it went down in three months… Needless to say, the coldsmoke did a number on me and I have been hooked ever since.
Skiing heroes or mentor(s): I’m inspired by the telemark skier who drops a steezy knee every single turn; the imaginative pursuers of the multi-sport sufferfest; the committing lines of sit skiers who help me remember that ‘in challenge there is opportunity’ and that ‘many limitations are self-imposed.’ I’m inspired by the women who have paved the way for other women to feel they have a place in backcountry skiing; the elders who continue to put on their boots and find the hippy pow for as long as they can make it to the slopes; the artists and adventurous spirits who paint big-mountain lines in far away places. The inspired; the passionate –they are my role models.
Mountain Credentials: AAA PRO 2, AMGA Assistant Ski Guide, AIARE Course Leader, WEMT
Story from a memorable trip: That time in Kokanee, BC where we lapped the glacier from sunup to sundown just because it was THAT good! All those times we came across wolverine tracks in the remote high mountains after a recent snow. That one International Women’s Day where I found myself with the most rad crew of ladies about to drop in to 3,000’ of north facing bliss. Or that time near Yellowstone, skinning down a long forested corridor of unplowed road: snow was falling softly, sound felt muted, and time seemed to stand still. A large lone wolf made her way towards me —following a scent. When she was nearly 25 feet from me, I clicked my poles together and she was gone. Such an incredible encounter!
What winter means to me: It’s a season for me to expand my awareness of the world around me and within me, more than any other time of year. In winter, I feel more in tune with my surroundings, with my inner state of being, with my animal senses, with my breath, and with my movements in the mountains. The quiet, the subtle, and the cold somehow feel incredibly resonant. The wintertime environment also holds immense curiosity for me. I love witnessing the progression of a season, whether it be through watching the everchanging conditions, my own capacity as a guide and teacher transforming, or witnessing my students as they find their voices as leaders. I love winter and all the lessons this season provides. Let it snow!
Favorite skin track snack: Scandinavian Swimmers or Smoked Salmon + Cheddah.
Favorite apres-ski activity: Quality parking-lot hang in my puffy pants with salty chips. I also love the part where I make a fire in my truck camper and cozy up with a good book. Or better yet, sauna?!
Hot tub or sauna? Sauna, 100%.
Fun fact: I like to funky fiddle jam to lo-fi beats